How to follow the Oscars

Joe Levine and Sophia Loren at the Oscars
Any excuse for a photo of Sophia Loren

If you are in the UK and want to follow the action from this Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, there are lots of ways to do it that don’t involve taking out a Sky subscription. One of them is illegal so of COURSE I shan’t mention it here, but lots of them aren’t. Here are my picks:

  • The Oscars website has a “buzz” section showing an aggregation of Oscars-related tweets which is already trotting along at a healthy rate, leading me to suspect that it might start moving so fast as to be unreadable on the night. For a more streamlined view, try following @TheAcademy, tweeting from behind the scenes, @OscarInterviews for glimpses of the stars and @OscarGoer for an audience-eye-view of the ceremony.
  • The red carpet is being shown live on E!, which I think is on Freeview, although half-hearted attempts at independent verification of this have failed, because I can’t work the internet. Anyway, it’s definitely available through Virgin cable packages, and you can always come over and watch it at mine. Bring popcorn.
  • If you want to go meta, follow @LostRemote, who will be tweeting all of “their favourite social media moments” on the night.
  • Finally, an all-woman team featuring Jo, TindaraConcetta and your correspondent will be live-blogging the whole affair from 11.30ish on Sunday evening over at Mostly Film, as well as taking over the Mostly Film twitter account for the evening (I have promised not to tweet every thirty seconds, but who knows where the mood will take me?).

Advent song for December 15: Happy Christmas, @WantonItalics!

This is the first advent song I’ve done for someone I’ve never met. @WantonItalics, whose real name is (probably) Caitlin, is someone I only know from Twitter, but she is one of my favourite people on Twitter because she is very funny and interesting, but also incredibly kind and interested, which not everyone on Twitter is. She has given me wedding advice and congratulations, and answered questions that have otherwise gone ignored by the twittersphere, and just seems like the all-round nicest person in the world ever. She is also very pretty and a scientist, both of which win her extra points. Her husband, @TalonSword, also seems very nice, and although they look like teenagers, they have just celebrated five years of marriage, so hurray for them.

Happy Christmas, WantonItalics! I have picked one song for you even though you picked a whole album, but it is a SUPER album so anyone who hasn’t heard the whole thing should go and do so here.

Twit and wisdom

On Twitter, Friday is the day when you recommend some of the people you follow to the people who follow you, in the hope that they will start to follow them too, and the tweeting goodness will be spread still wider.

The problem with this is the 140 character limit. In the day-to-day run of things it’s fun and interesting to compose whichever thought you want to convey in such a way that it will fit into a single tweet, but it’s almost impossible to persuade someone to follow someone they’ve never heard of in the same amount of space.

So here, extended for as many characters as I need to explain them, are my Follow Friday recommendations for today. The only thing they have in common is that they’re all prolific tweeters: it’s no good being hilarious and insighful if you only do it once a month.

If you’re on Twitter, follow these people immediately, and if you’re not you can sign up here.

Richard Madely has only been on Twitter for a couple of months, but has already posted more times than I have. And every post is so boundlessly, enthusiastically, Tiggerishly Richard that it’s a constant charm. He is genuinely interested in everything!

Sample tweet:

Newsflash (now THAT takes some of us back) – Soy Sauce in gravy works! Big time! Makes it more savoury with nice backtaste. Just a teaspoon.

I don’t really know who Sali Hughes is, except that she’s a writer, and I can’t remember how I found her, but she’s witty and self-deprecating, and was very funny about her family Christmas. She also chats a lot, so she’s a good way of finding even more people to follow.

Sample tweet:

I’ve just noticed someone’s put me on a twitter list entitled CARBS. I didn’t come here to be insulted. *puts down baked potato sandwich*

Richard Wiseman is a psychologist and magician who uses Twitter more creatively and ingeniously than anyone else I’ve come across. He uses his audience as a giant research panel, constantly asking questions and setting challenges and suggesting things for people to try and report back to him on. He also sets a weekly logic puzzle, and for that alone he makes the list.

Sample tweet:

Starting new book today. Will open with the best sentence submitted on Twitter.

Julia Irving is a Geordie mother of two who enjoys food, reality TV and travel. She also has a terminal cancer diagnosis, but you’d rarely know that from her tweets. She is relentlessly upbeat, has a good word for everyone (even Heather Mills!) and finds joy in the smallest of things. If I ever start to feel weedy and sorry for myself, a healthy dose of Jools brings me back to my senses.

Sample tweet:

OMG this new dessert I have made for tonight is just WOW FABBY DELISH :o) Its honeycomb and chocolate mouse pots YUMMMMYYYYYYY

Finally, I am giving a joint spot to Adam Kay and Suman Biswas, the singing doctors of London Underground fame, because their funniest tweets are often to each other. Pleasingly, the element of “he didn’t really just say that, did he?” which is so prevalent in their songs is also present in their tweets, though I’ve deliberately chosen mild examples here to put you off your guard.

Sample tweet (Adam):

Ever since Alistair Cooke stopped presenting Letter from America and died I’m nervous when he’s mooted to captain England.

Sample tweet (Suman):

Am teaching my cat about Communism. (I assume he wants to learn, he’s always asking about Mao).

And really truly finally, I wouldn’t give them a Follow Friday mention because there can’t be anyone left on Twitter who doesn’t already, but if you’re new to it then you must make sure to follow David Schneider, Mrs Stephen Fry, Samuel Johnson, Derren Brown, Phillip Schofield and shitmydadsays; especially that last one.